North Carolina State University has been called every name under the sun, my favorite being “the red-headed step child” of the Triangle.
May 22, 2015
My Startup Story: Honey Bees, An eGames Victory and My (NCSU) Pack
Just graduated NCSU student shares the support she got dreaming up, launching and pitching Bee Downtown
Yes, we may be the agricultural school made entirely out of brick, and true, we may not have as many national championships as our neighbors down the street, but we have something much more important, something our “friends” will never have…a Pack.
Every student, from the minute they enroll at NC State until the day they die, knows the importance of their pack. My favorite saying at NC State is, “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack,” because, while students and faculty each have their own unique story about NC State, there is always one thing that remains consistent to each tale: our strength is found within our Pack.
Before I continue to brag about my Pack, I want to take a step back and tell you a bit about my company, Bee Downtown.
I started Bee Downtown my junior year at NC State. I was studying abroad in Barcelona when I read a magazine article about rooftop beekeeping. As a third generation beekeeper from North Carolina, I already knew about the troubles honey bees face worldwide and was frustrated no one had found a long-term solution for keeping the bee population alive and thriving. I became fixated on the idea of rooftop beekeeping, because, while it has become widely popular in larger northern U.S cities, it has not yet caught on in the South. What was even more interesting to me was recent research that shows honey bees are actually healthier in urban areas because there are more year-round food sources, less pesticides, and larger varieties of plants for the bees to forage from.
I came back from Europe and pitched the initial idea of Bee Downtown to Michael Goodmon, the vice president of real estate for Capitol Broadcasting who oversees the American Tobacco campus in Durham. I had interned for his company for a year, and knew the campus was the perfect place to start the pilot program. I was terrified to ask if it would be possible to place 180,000 stinging insects on his campus, but before I could finish my pitch, Michael stopped me and asked how fast we could get bees on the rooftops and Bee Downtown in business.
The 2015 Lulu eGames was a culmination of the hard work and dedication NC State students have put into creating businesses and products that will have a lasting impact on the world. Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, said, “A person should not aspire to become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are the people who identify a problem that no one else is willing to solve and it bothers them to the point that they decide to solve the problem themselves.” In other words, you “Think and Do.”
NC State takes this to the next level because almost every company that competes in the eGames each year has been created to address a social or environmental issue. From Undercover Colors working to prevent sexual assault to Bee Downtown aspiring to rebuild healthy sustainable honey bee populations around the world, we know our strength comes from our Pack.
Our Pack is full of faculty, advisors, alumni and fellow students who go above and beyond to help turn our dreams of success into reality. In return, students across all departments at NC State are embodying our university’s motto of “Think and Do” and are showing not just the state, but the world, that the Wolves at North Carolina State University and their Pack are going to be the next generation of world changers.